Banning anything makes it the forbidden fruit and creates more of a desire to use it. Offering the fruit alone is not going to protect our children. Before we put our young people behind the wheel of a car, we warn them of all the hazards connected with driving one. We need to do the same for our AI users.
Since the 1990’s I have been a proponent of not banning technology, but instead, empowering my eight and nine year olds how to use it wisely. That required background about the devices they were using.
The following were the topics we covered before they had permission to use their devices:
- Understanding the motives of developers
- When students understand the neuroscience principles that explain the addictiveness of devices and how memory is formed helps students understand why they have a hard time stopping their use, and why it’s hard to concentrate after prolonged use of devices.
- How to fit technology use into their daily schedules
- Knowledge of advertising strategies used to capture users’ attention and retain it. Being aware that advertisers understand neuroscience principles and how that impacts users.
- How to question what is viewed on the Internet and in social media
- An awareness of the Stranger Danger that lurks beyond their screens
- How to evaluate the credibility of anything found on the internet and why one needs to question everything
- Awareness of how algorithms are utilized in their devices that determine when to offer rewards that keep users engaged
Once the ground work is established, students even younger than eight become wise consumers.
Just like the use for their Nintendos, my first reaction to AI was different from most. I did not believe in making it a forbidden fruit, which made it more desirable. As with every new advancement of technology, my users needed background knowledge required to use it effectively.
In a previous post I suggested ways of using AI after providing the background knowledge necessary for students to use it effectively. The activities I did with fourth and a fifth graders created engagement in skills that once were tedious to teach. The value of using this new technology lies in how we embrace it and implement activities that engage while empowering students to wise users.
The following was the background knowledge my students needed:
- How AI is programed by someone who inputs data based on their own limited knowledge.
- AI is notorious for omitting information that is not found on the internet or in the resources it was programed to use.
- AI Apps are known to create hallucinations, fake information, and can create a video of a person saying something they never said in a place they have never been.
- Developers program the Apps with information that supports their own opinion but not the opinions of other. This requires users to search for differing opinions.
- AI can not predict outcomes of something that has never happened in the past.
- Halucinations are what developers refer to as lies. AI will put information together in a way that is misleading.
- It’s up to each user to fact check everything generated by AI.
- AI will put together words related to a question that make no sense to the educated eye. Students relying on its effectiveness can easily be fooled. The teachers, however, will immediately know it is false information.
- AI generates material that is not grammatically correct. This makes for a perfect exercise in being a grammar detective. It is Also a warning to users to understand basic grammar rules so they can check the accuracy of AI Apps.
Recently, a college professor engaged his students by using the AI generated material to find errors. He stated, :”I have never seen my students more engaged in a grammar lesson before.”
Prepared Users are critical thinkers and are prepared to use AI Apps responsibily.